What the Year 2020 Will Look Like

Everyone likes to make predictions, and I am no different.  There was a time in my life that my job depended upon my knowing exactly where the cutting edge of technology was.  I was quite fortunate for having worked at M.I.T. in the mid-1980s on a computer development project.  We were working on networking computers, and describing what a computer work station should look like software wise.  It was a good education in the sorts of things to look for.

As far as computers are concerned the speed of the home computer will continue to increase but not at the rates that we have seen in the past ten years.  The top end of home computing speed right now is about 3.2 gigahertz.  By 2020 I expect that speed will be roughly 4.5 gigahertz.  What will hold down speed is the ability of chip makers to produce processors that have more and more transistors on them.  They have already introduced the idea of dual processors to mimic speed increase.  What is really happening is two processors doing the work that one used to but at the same relative speed.  The breakthrough will come when they develop processors that use light instead of electricity.

What will continue to move forward in leaps and bounds is the ability of computers to deal with graphical data.  The time it takes a computer to find a piece of data and display it is the heart and soul of computing.  But right now one of our great limitations is the ability of the Internet to pass data along.  There is a little thing called “bandwidth” that dictates how much data can be sent at any particular moment in time.  That bandwidth is the same as the size of a pipe dictating how much water can be pushed through it.  Therefor, the two most important parts of the Internet are the computers that hold the data and their ability to retrieve the data, and, the ability of the transmission lines to carry that data.  Both those things are going to increase dramatically.  There will be a dramatic shift from the copper wire carrying data towards fibre-optics carrying data.  That alone will increase both bandwidth and data speed.

Here is a hurtful prediction.  Expect the price of gasoline to be around $10 a gallon.  With that the death of the SUV and the American full size car will have happened.  Also, the death of Chrysler Corporation along with the possible deaths of Ford and GM.  Why?  They still have not gotten it.  That it is simply the types of cars offered by Toyota, Nissan, and Honda.  Toyota’s largest sedan is about the size of American mid-sized cars while the rest of their fleets are the size of or smaller than American small cars.  What can save GM and Ford will be their ability to supply small fuel-efficient cars, more so than they do now.  But also, they need to make more readily available their hybrid cars.  Case in point, I tried to buy a Ford Fusion hybrid this past summer.  I was told that the waiting time for such cars was 90 to 120 days.  I was not willing to wait.  I could have bought a Prius however without a wait.  That means American automobile manufacturers are not being fully competitive with the Japanese.  That will be their downfall.

There is one type of automobile, not now available anywhere, that could become popular with the fast rising prices of crude oil.  That type is the liquid natural gas car.  The only thing that need be put in place for that to be viable is a distribution system for automobiles.  There is actually a good distribution of this fuel for buses and trucks.  Furthermore, the fuel is far more ecologically friendly and is in abundance in North America.  What could push this fuel into the forefront is the stability of the middle east.  If it destabilizes greatly, which it could, that would quickly push up the price of crude quickly.

By 2020 I expect China will begrudgingly abandon the Communist Party as its population moves towards 1.5 billion.  This will be in large part due to the increased difficulty of importing oil and other resources not natural to China.  As the Chinese economy increasingly relies upon capitalism to fill its needs, and the older party leadership dies, it will find itself migrating away from Communism.

Expect by 2020 the Euro to be a memory as more and more countries abandon it in favor of its own currency.  While European economic unity continues to be a good idea, its single currency will be found to be an impediment to the economic stability of individual countries, and therefore abandoned.

One of the strange results of the coming oil shortage will be the decreased unemployment.  Americans are going to find it more economical to buy local, or buy American.  The price of transportation long distances will increase much faster than markets can bear.  That will mean imported goods will increase enough in price that Americans will look for lesser expensive domestic products.  This, of course, will in turn put a lot of American to work.  But it will also make American goods more desirable in foreign markets.

Environmentalists will be unhappy with this because there will be a huge push for production of electricity from coal.  It will also lead to the beginning of a new series of nuclear power plants.  But because of the time it takes to build a plant they will not start coming on-line until the very end of the decade or later.  Still, that will mean our becoming more independent of foreign oil.

George Clooney will get married.

So will JaLo, yet again.

The number of cable channels will more than double if not triple.  The 998 channels now available will not be enough to handle the demand.  Expect big increases in the number of religiously based networks and sports networks.  Cable television will become much more specialized in those areas along with news networks that will start offering news programs based in foreign countries.

Manned space flight will not return but there will be an increase in unmanned space activities in the world of science.  Along with that will be the increased use of satellite telephones.  Companies now offering cell phone use will soon switch to satellite cell phones simply because the need for earth based physical plants will decrease dramatically with their increase.

Satellite radio will increase dramatically and decrease the number of broadcast radio stations greatly.  Satellite radio and GPS systems will be standard equipment in cars.

Well, that is it for now.  I expect there will be a part 2 to this as I consider the subject some more.


The First and Second Amendments of the Constitution

As a student of history, particularly American, I have long considered why ou “Bill of Rights,” the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, are in the order they are in and why they are written as they are.  Most historians agree that the writers of the Constitution, primarily were a small group comprising John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  Dickinson did most of the draft writing and conferred with Jefferson and Madison on finer points.  Then it was brought to the Constitutional Convention for further discussion and revision.  A number of “plans” were put forth by various state delegations, one the best known being the “Virginia  Plan.”  What happened most was changing of some wording and elimination of a number of paragraphs.  To be sure, the ratified Constitution was considerably smaller than its original presentation.

The “Bill of Rights” came into being in the first two years of our nation.  They were added because the original document had to have ratification of ten states which would not happen if the words of the Bill of Rights were present.

The first amendment I have found to be particularly curious.  It has two seemingly unrelated parts folded into one amendment.  The first part addresses the establishment of religion.  The leaders of the day had an enormous distaste for a state established religion as had been the law in England.  The idea that any church had so much power within government was simply not acceptable to them.  In America, conversely, the three or four religions that first migrated to the American continent had given way to a multitude of religions.  Those present at the convention themselves came from Presbyters, Unitarians, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Quakers, and a few who were not allied with any particular religion. They realized quickly within their own small group that their own beliefs varied far too greatly to give countenance to any particular sect.  Although not a part of the Convention, Dr. Benjamin Franklin had made it known in the previous years how distasteful he found John Adams’ Puritan ethic.  They were at opposite ends of the religious spectrum even though they were mostly in sync in their political beliefs.  And that is what all the “framers” of the Constitution understood implicitly.  No one could pick any particular belief as the standard for our country.  They decided, perfectly, that to insure a continued an unfettered government that they would make it illegal for the government to favor any and all religious beliefs.  They were fully aware of people who were agnostic who balked at all religions as this had been both Franklin and Jefferson’s belief.

But then they wrote the send portion of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  This was John Adams at his finest.  No colony had suffered more oppression of suppressed rights to speak and write with impunity as Massachusetts had.  In 1768 when the Townshed Acts had been passed they were quite pointed towards Massachusetts.  England considered Massachusetts the greatest the greatest thorn in its side.  Newspapers written by Adams, Hancock and others consistently complained of the treatment by Parliament and the king.  Massachusetts had also gone through a series of public protests some of which ended in the loss of life or imprisonment.  To be fair, other colonies had suffered  similar events but not to the degree Bostonians had.

My only question is, why not make this declaration an amendment of its own?

Now we come to the infamous second amendment.  After the first amendment, no amendment has had more discussion.  The entire Constitution was written in some vague language.  The belief at the time was the Constitution should be a living document that would undergo change as the times called for.  With all due respect to my college professor in grad school, I do not believe the writers were thinking of individuals when this was written.  This is another Adams amendment.  The minutemen of Massachusetts, known as the state militia, had gone through repeated attempts by the British to curb their power.  One of the provisions of the Townshend Acts made it illegal for towns to warehouse stores of guns and gun powder.  Massachusetts towns had organized some years before into what were called “defense committees.”  Once a month the members would gather on the town green or common area to practice and drill with their weapons.  Many, if not most, of those weapons were provided to them by the state.  Contrary to any beliefs held today, those people were largely farmers and merchants who had no interest in hunting.  Gun ownership was of no particular interest to them.

But these same farmers and merchants did understand the need for home defense.  The British soldiers had shown no respect for their lands, their property, or their persons.  That meant these defense committees had a single purpose, to gather as a group, a militia, to protect those rights they staunchly believe in.  But I can assure you, their thought of the day was their remembering how crown had tried, in vain, to dismantle the colonial militia.  And that was the driving force behind the second amendment.  The right of the people (plural) to bear arms meant they could gather as a governmental body to protect themselves against any government that might try to gain control over them.  The thirteen original states were a very weak coalition held together by a piece of paper.  There was a high degree of mistrust between those various states.  It was felt that if each state could raise and support its own militia, that provided a safeguard against any other state trying to intrude on its rights.  They did not trust a central government’s military to protect them thusly.  If their governor controlled their militia they felt much safer

I am not making an argument here for any change in gun laws.  I am simply tired of the NRA, and others, pointing to the second amendment as the guarantee of an individual’s right.  It is not.  I am, in fact, very much in favor of the individual to have a right to gun ownership.  I am also a reasonable person and I believe there needs to be a reasonable amount of rules and regulation that keep those guns only in the hands of responsible and law-abiding citizens.  How do you do that?  I do not have an answer but I do know there is one but please do not point to the second amendment when  you make your argument.  Point to yourself as being a responsible and law-abiding citizen who has earned the right to have certain weapons of choice.

The Beauty of Poland

Several years ago my wife and I had the good fortune to visit Poland.  It was, believe it or not, our alternative to going to Italy.  Italy was a little too expensive for our budget at the time so I came up with Poland.  My wife is Polish.

As it turned out, our visit there turned into one of the best vacations I have ever had.  If I get a chance, I will return there as there is much more we did not see even though we were there for a full two weeks.  I decided to share some of our pictures and encourage those of you considering a European destination to consider Poland.  It will surprise you.  Not only that, it is a lot easier on the pocketbook than most western European destinations.

This is a picture of Nowy Swiat, a street in Warsaw and while it may look rather plain in this picture I want to point out how neat and clean it is.  This was commonplace on our trip there.

This church is a little way up on Nowy Swiat.  Its interior is very typical of Polish churches.  This view is actually rather plain compared to many other churches there.   The painting shown here is in the National Museum but it is typical of the kind of art that can be found in most Polish churches.

This is a picture of a square right next to the “old town” portion of Warsaw.  This particular square was totally destroyed during World War 2 but was rebuilt starting in the 1970s so that it is an exact replica of what the square looked like prior to its destruction.

While this scene looks like it is part of the beautiful Polish countryside it is actually a park in the middle of the city.  Warsaw has many parks but this particular one is also the location of the old “summer palace.”

These are a couple of pictures of the Wawel Castle in Krakow.  It sits on the highest point in the city and was where the first monarchs of Poland sat.

These five pictures were all taken around Krakow’s market square.

Krakow is a relatively small city and retains an old world quaintness to it.

The square show here played a prominent part in the movie “Schindler’s List.”  It is the location shown where the Germans first rounded up the Jews and had them register.

About 50 miles west of Krakow is the city of Chestohova.  The city is the location of the painting named “The Black Madonna” revered in Poland.  The church where the painting is located, shown above, is a destination for Polish Pilgrims.

Finally, back in Warsaw, we have the beautiful building and grounds of the Wilanow Palace.  The palace dates back to the 18th Century.  Its interior is a veritable museum of art.  It is also the location that the “Warsaw Treaty” was signed at the end of World War 2.

I have been able to show only a few of the many pictures I took during my two weeks in Poland.  I could have, and should have, taken many more.  There is something in Poland to appeal to everyone.  If you like food you will love Poland.  The Polish cuisine is excellent and there are no shortages of restaurants that serve excellence Polish food at very reasonable prices.

The Polish people were consistently friendly and, for the most part, those we needed to interact with spoke reasonable good English.  I give my visit to Poland 5 stars!  I had absolutely no complaints and enjoyed every single minute of my stay there.

Basic Training During Vietnam

I was sworn into the US Army on February 19, 1968 at the Boston Army Base.  It was the beginning of a career that I could not have imagined.  At the time things were extremely hot in Vietnam.  The Tet offensive had occurred just a little earlier in the year.  We were bombing North Vietnam, and everyday the news reports coming back brought the war into our homes.  Honestly, I do not remember watching those news events although I know I must have because I have always had an interest in the news.

I joined the army in part because I had failed in my first semester at Boston University and not knowing what else to do with myself.  I had been working a job as a gas station attendant and I knew I could do better.  I just did not know how.  I also joined out of a sense of patriotism.  That came in large part because of my father who had served in the Army Air Corps in World War 2 in North Africa and Europe.

I truly loved the idea of the military regardless of what was happening in Vietnam.  I had tested extremely well on the Armed Forces Entrance Test and could pick and choose what I wanted to do in the military.  I chose officers school.  The choice got me assigned to Fort Polk Louisiana instead of Fort Dix New Jersey where most recruits from the Northeast went.

My arrival at Fort Polk had taken me through the south that was still struggling with desegregation.  On the bus trip from Lake Charles Louisiana to Fort Polk I remember passing by a bus stop where there were two water fountains within two feet of each other.  One had a sign over it “white only” and the other had a sign “colored.”  Jim Crow was alive and well at the time.

At the time, Fort Polk in large looked much as it had in World War 2.  All the barracks were still the “temporary” barracks that had been constructed at the start of the war when the size of the army increased greatly.  But that was where all resemblance to those days ended.  After a brief stay at the “reception station” where we got our uniforms, our military haircut, tested, given shots for various diseases, and had our personnel files started, we were marched, a euphemism for a merciless run, to our company training area.  I was assigned to B Company 5 regiment of the 1st training brigade.

We stood at attention in the company street while we were dressed down by our drill sergeants.  They told us exactly what we would do, when we would do it, and how we would do it.  We were then divided according to where we came from.  Two platoons consisted entirely of men from the south, a bunch of us were put in the “Yankee” platoon, while the remainder were put in the “odd ball” platoon for those from other areas.

Good basic training requires that the drill sergeant break us down as individuals so we can be rebuilt in a manner that meets the needs of the Army.  Any ego we had brought with us was determined to be detrimental.  Our ego was regained with successful training.  The start of breaking us down was their yelling at us constantly from the time we entered their company area.  They had also put us together as they did because they intended on pitting us against each other.  It worked.

After a while each drill sergeant took his platoon into their assigned barracks and told us what was expected of us in the barracks.  This included things like where we slept, cleaning the barracks, and fire guard at nights.  The barracks were entirely wooden and they were ostensibly guarding against a fire starting in one of them.  They also informed us how quickly they expected us to form up in the company area from our barracks once we were given the order to do so.  I can assure you, it was on the line of 30 seconds, maybe less.

He gave the order at that moment to form up in the company area and we failed, miserably, at least according to him.  At this point he said he did not want us dirtying his clean barracks with our dirty selves and ordered us to crawl under the barracks so we could attempt to complete his order successfully.  Each of these barracks had about a two foot crawl space beneath them that extended the full length of the building.  We went through this bit of “training” many times before we were finally allowed to go back into the barracks.  By that time we were exhausted and scared to death of the drill sergeant.  He had succeeded.

"temporary" barracks at Fort Polk

Army basic training at the time was about eight and one half weeks long.  We were told that we would not be allowed to leave our company area that first weekend.  We did not leave the second, or the third.  On the fourth weekend we would be allowed a day pass if we were the best platoon during our weekly inspection.  By this time we knew as the Yankee platoon we would not win and that was exactly what happened.  One of the southern platoons won, of course.  But that put a chip on our shoulders that we carrying the rest of our time there.  We had been brought tightly together just as they had wanted.

The other aspects of daily life at the time was first meals.  Today’s army has large modern mess halls where hundreds of soldiers are fed at once.  In 1968 each basic training company had its own mess hall.  It was a smallish building that could accommodate roughly 50 men at a time.  We were lined up at one door, pushed through the chow line, given about 6 minutes to eat and get out.  Lunch meals were always in the field which were generally “C” rations.  These rations do not exist any more.  What they were was a box that contained a can filled with meat and potatoes, a can of fruit, a chocolate bar, and a pack of four cigarettes.  I did not smoke so I could trade those for another guy’s chocolate bar.

From the first time we were marched out of our company area to one of the many training areas one of the drill sergeants sang out a marching song that we had to follow.  They had not problem taking us from a march into what in the military is called “double time.”  This simply means that we were jogging, full pack on our backs and rifle in our hands.  If we were not doing it right, which was usually according to them, they would yell at us that “Charlie is going to get you and you are going to die!”  Charlie was the euphemism used when referring to the Viet Cong army.  I do not think a day went by when we did not hear them yell that at us at least once.  It was not just a scare tactic.  It was the truth.

During basic training our contact with the outside world was extremely limited.  We could, of course, write and receive letters.  We could call home only when we were allowed to leave the company area because all the pay phones were on a different part of the post from where we were.  Of course there was no television so we were woefully unaware of what was going on in the world around us.

The first week in April we in the Yankee platoon we advised that we would be allowed our first pass off base.  But then, on April 4th, Martin Luther King was assassinated and a riot developed in Leesville, the town nearest to Fort Polk.  All passes were cancelled of course.  In the 200 men in my basic training company there were a fair number of black men.  I had arrived without any prejudices against black people but that would not have mattered anyway, none of had time, or the inclination, to show prejudices.  There was not a single such incident of that sort in our company to my knowledge.  But the death of King,  I believe, removed any lingering prejudices some may have had.  We had come to realize that we needed to rely upon each other and that in a combat position, our lives depended upon that.

We all graduated on a Wednesday in the last week of April.  Immediately following the graduation ceremony those men who had not previously known their next training assignment found out where they were going.  Over 80% of the men were assigned to advanced infantry training right there on Fort Polk.  They were also told that this was in anticipation of their going to Vietnam.  I was one of six going to officer training afterwards while the others had been able to secure assignments of their choice when they enlisted.

"Tigerland" Fort Polk, advanced infantry training

By the time we finished basic training we were still not ready to go to Vietnam but we had become aware of what a dangerous situation it was.  It meant that a lot of guys I had trained with would be in Vietnam by that July.  It was a sure thing many of them would die there as well.  But we were also trained that we could not think about such things.  It served no purpose.  I was very fortunate.  Towards the end of 1968 I was assigned to Korea which was considered an assignment similar enough to Vietnam that we were in no danger of being assigned to Vietnam afterward.

Basic training changed many parts of me.  It opened my eyes to a lot, and prepared me for the world that lay in front of me.

You Can Be Happy But Only If You Want To

I spent too much of my life being unhappy for no good reason.  I had plenty of bad things happen to me, which I was quick to point out, and I used those things as reasons for not being happy.  What a bunch of crap that was!

What I have found out at this end of my life is there are only a few things I need to do to be really happy.  But there are also a lot of things I need to be aware of that keep me from being as happy as is possible.

I used to do a lot of things that got between me and happiness.  First, I used to stare at the past and bemoan it.  What I mean is, I would look at the various bad things that happened and feel sorry for myself.  Instead of using them as learning experiences, I allowed them to take me over and rule my feelings.  What I did not seem to understand was that I could not do a thing about what had happened to me.  And if I did not allow the past to negatively affect me, it would not.  I also used the “what if” or “if only” in looking over my past.  I would say “what if I had done this” or “if only I had not done that” and generally sit on the pity pot whining.  What I should have said to myself was, “You know what?  What happened to you was really crappy.  Now, do all in your power to see that it does not happen again and move on!”

Resentments cause people more loss of sleep and more distress than is necessary.  A resentment is me drinking some poison when I think badly of someone else and waiting for them to be affected by the poison.  I know, it is nuts!  But that is what we do when we decide to cop a resentment.  What good does it do?  None!  But I have also found that too my of my resentments are me seeing something in some else that I hate because it is something in me I hate.  If I find myself heading towards a resentment these days I stop myself.  I have far better things to do with my thinking time.  Resentments are never happy things and I simply do not have the time to waste on unhappy things.

There are some other things I do to keep myself happy.  I seldom take things personally even when it appears someone is launching a personal attack against me.  I have found that most times those people have something else going on and I am a convenient target at that moment.  At such times I remind myself that most likely the person has issues they are dealing with and I just let the whole incident go.  I definitely do not get into a fight with them, and allow them to “win” if that is what they are after.  It does not happen a lot that I need to defend a position.

These days I truly believe that I know it is going to be a good day simply because I woke up that day.  That might sound strange, but consider the alternative.  I see the beginning of every day as a chance to enjoy something.  Most days I find lots of things.  Animals are always a great source of pleasure.  I simply watch them moving around doing whatever.  The question in my mind at such times is “what are they doing?”  or I simply think that what they are doing is interesting.  More importantly, I have found that my energy level is generally reflected back in the animal’s actions.  If I am calm, so are they.

I seldom get angry.  What is the point?  How many things can happen to me in a year, let alone a day, that require my anger?  The key word in that sentence is “require.”  I think it entirely human for anger to flare from time-to-time but it is how I deal with it that makes all the difference.  It is very seldom that I truly have any need to show or voice my anger.  When I feel my anger rising I am quick to ask myself if it is truly necessary.  Usually the answer is no.

I find it very easy to let things go these day.  Recently I have had some things stolen from me and I got angry over it.  I despise theft.  But after my brief visit with anger I work hard to get over it and let it go.  People who would steal from me are just sick.  There is nothing I can do about them.  More importantly, I let go of the idea long ago that I have much control over anything after I finish controlling myself.  This is particularly true of other people.  I can let it be known how I feel and that I wish someone to act differently but I cannot force them to acquiesce to my desires.  That means, once I have let my desires know, I let go of whatever it is that has prompted me to be vocal.  That means I usually quickly forget whatever it was that bothered me in the first place.  I have moved on to more important things.

When someone requests my help I usually give it to them.  This is something that makes me really happy.  I consider it a gift when someone desires my help considering they could request it from so many others.  Even more, I expect nothing in return.  And most of the time, I refuse anything in return.  That mostly happens when someone offers me money.  I am really happy that they simply say thank you.  That makes my time given them a gift.  There is an old saying, you have to give it away to get it.  Whatever I give to someone I find gets returned to me many many times over.

I have also decided that loneliness is generally something that can be overcome quickly.  Most of the time I know when I am going to be alone.  It is at those times that I have made plans to have something to amuse myself with.  Frequently that means I have a book with me.

I really believe that most home runs are hit when you are thrown a curve.  It certainly is true in baseball so why not in life?  When life throws me a curve, is that not a time for me to shine and show what I can do?

I think life is really mostly about what you make of it.  If you are going to be angry, morose, petty, vindictive, resentful, and a host of other negative things, you are not going to be left with much time to be happy.  Our negative feelings are just reminders that we need to be happy.

Our Politicains Are Brainwashing Us

Please note, I did not assign this to any particular political party, and that is because both major political parties are equally guilty.  This is not anything new either.  Political parties have been trying to do this forever.  It is not anything new.  The new part is their use of the media to convince people of the righteousness of their position.  At this point you are  probably saying that that is what they are supposed to do.  The response to that is an emphatic no!

In the early 19th Century there was a large portion of our country that was illiterate, and an even larger portion that had something less than an 8th grade education.  As time passed that changed, but political parties approach to the average American has not.  The Whigs, the Bull Moose, the Republicans, and Democrats have each partaken in a manipulations of the truth and outright lies all in an effort to ally people to their way of thinking, the right way according to them.

Democrats love to use the absolutism that green house gases are causing a global warm and they make sure you are looking at industrialists to take the blame.  The fact is, plant life itself causes greenhouse gases.  Democrats love to give that portion of the truth that bolsters their take on global warming.  What needs to be given is the whole truth along with what is in doubt and unknown.

Right now the Republican party is saying that taxing the upper 1% is being unfairly targeted for a tax increase.  Gov. Romney showed in his 15% tax rate that their statements are rather disingenuous.  They claim that it will stifle those who create jobs from doing that.  Really?  You mean they will no longer desire to make money so they are going to withdraw from all market, because that is exactly what you are saying since that 1% has little effect of creating jobs.  Companies create jobs and as long as any company desires to make a profit it will create more jobs to do just that but only as the market bears.  Thirty years ago that same 1% paid triple in taxes, or more, than is demanded of them today.  It was also a Republican idea to have a minimum tax.  Why have they run from that now?

Democrats are famous for their gun control moves.  Their problem is, they have never offered gun owners anything that resembled a guarantee that the individual’s right to own such weapons will not be impeded.  They would be better served by coming up with a system whereby those guilty of violent crimes spend a lot of time in jail and are properly monitored upon their release.  That done, then maybe they can offer ideas on gun control.  But if they do, they had better have an ironclad guarantee along with it.

Republicans chafe at the idea of increased regulation of anything.  Their claim is that we are overregulated as it is, and that government is interfering in people’s private lives.  They say they want government out of our lives.  Last thing first, you cannot get government out of your life.  It is a fact of life that has nothing to do with the type of government but rather mankind’s desire to live in a society.  Orderly society have rules and regulations to live by.  The more freedom demanded for the individual the more extensive the rules and regulations regarding those freedoms.  One of the purposes of those rules and regulations is to protect us from ourselves.  Humans can be extremely greedy, lazy, gluttonous, and other things that have the possibility of hurting others.  That is where governments come into play to protect the individual from the shortcomings of others.  It is that simple.

Today’s politicians take the current issues and become rigid in their position.  They do this successfully because they have convinced their constituents that theirs is the only correct position and to move away from that position, even slightly, is just wrong.  They take issues where 75% of Americans feel one particular way and because they are in the other 25%, and in power, they pay millions of dollars in advertising to change the thinking of the average American so it lines up with their thinking.

Politicians are also giving the appearance of being at the beck and call of the PACs that fund their reelections campaigns.  Again, these PACs do not have the public’s interest at heart, even when they say they do, but have the ideals of their contributors front and center.  Politicians allow themselves to be bought off by such special interest groups.  God forbid they should stand up to one of their sacred cows to stand with the people who elected them.

I find it incredible that the house and senate both to have ethics committees.   I see no proof that any of them have any understanding of ethical behavior.  One of the prime ideals of ethical behavior is that you do not give even the appearance of unethical behavior.  Senators and congressmen regularly not only give the appearance of unethical behavior, they flaunt unethical behavior.  For example, they should never accept any gifts from any corporation vying for government contracts, government approval, or any other government action that they have sway over.  But such action happen daily.  They allow corporations to wine and dine them at a rate well above the $25 a civil servant is allowed.  They take ride in corporate jets, get seats in very expensive corporate booths at sporting events, take gifts of all sorts and supposedly they claim that such gifts do not affect their participation in events that corporation has in the government.

The bottom line is, we as Americans need to do more thinking for ourselves.  We cannot allow ourselves to be swayed so much by the politically motived ads that pollute the airwaves at election time.  We must be willing to investigate the truth of any and all claims made by every politician, and when they do not line up with the truth, we need to make that known to the politicians involved.

Right now the Republican candidates for president are making all sorts of claims of what Obama did or did not do.  What they do not offer is how they were complicit in things not happening that should have or vice versa.  They are not the least bit forthcoming in their own failings.  And when the time comes, the Democrats will practice the very same less than honest portrayals of the Republican presidential candidate.

Americans need to understand one thing very clearly.  The president cannot make a single law, only congress can.  And while presidents make lots of claims of what they intend on doing, without the cooperation of congress, none of it will happen.  Quite simply this means, if you do not like where we are right now, look to congress as the problem, and then at yourself, to find the root of all our problems.  We do not live in a dictatorship and the influence of any president is rather limited.  Do not allow all the various candidates to convince you otherwise about the president or any other person they are running against.

What Women Really Mean When They Are Talking

Men are naturally stronger than women as a rule.  It is genetics and there is nothing they can do about that.  But they have come up with a measured response that has kept men at bay and in their control forever.  If you are a man and take a woman literally, you are either single or not listening.  Women have a way of getting what they want without having to directly ask for it.  I will give you a brief list of these words and phrases that have managed to confuse men into doing a woman’s bidding.

1.  Do what you want — Guys, this is not a woman giving you permission to go out with your friends to a bar.  She is not giving you a choice.  This is her way of saying that she has already told you what she wants to do, and if you know what is good for you, that will be your choice.

2.  Does this make me look fat? —  This is a trick question.  Guys, you cannot answer it directly as she already thinks she looks fat and if you say it does not, she will simply say, “but you think I do look fat.”  There is only one good answer, “What do you think?”  That, in reality, is the only thing that matters after all.  Now, if she does say something to the effect that she is fat, it is your duty to reassure her she looks great.

3.  Did you hear what I just said?  — Guys, unless you can repeat verbatim what she just said to you, take the hit.  She already thinks you have not been listening.  Apologize up front and for God’s sake, listen the second time.

4.  It’s all right — No it’s not!  This is another test.  This is her saying, “If you really loved me you would not think it is not all right.”  Do not take the bait.  Even if you have no idea what she really means, your only response is to suggest you talk about it.

5.  Do you know what day today is? — If she is asking you this question it means you are already screwed.  It is some important date that you should have remembered upon waking that day, and she is upset.  It is time to fall on your sword, look extremely upset, and beg forgiveness.  Women know men forget most dates they consider sacred, you know, silly dates like her birthday, her mother’s birthday, the day her favorite dog died when she was 15.  But whatever you do, do NOT say “no.”

6.  I don’t want to talk about it — When she says that, be afraid, be very afraid.  She really wants to talk about whatever it is, but she is pissed!  As you look at her, think of a female lion preparing to protect her young.  That is a fair approximation of her temperament at that moment.  To survive, you must become extremely sympathetic to whatever is going on and be very patient.  If you push, well, think of the poor animal that crosses that mother lion’s path.

7.  What do you think? — This is just her using a different phrase for “Did you hear what I just said?”  She does not want to know what you think.  She wants an affirmation that she is thinking properly and that you are in agreement.  Now unless diamonds, “Coach,” or Gucci are included in your response that is different from hers, she does not want to hear what you think.

8.  Do you think we could go out this Saturday night?  — Guys, unless you have a surgery scheduled that will conflict with this, your only answer is yes.  Not only that, you need to find out exactly what she is thinking, where she wants to go, etc. and do exactly that.  Your poker plans with your friends will not cut it.

9.  I’ll be just a minute — A woman’s sense of time was best described by Einstein as being “relative.”  You will be with her when she says this and it is entirely irrelevant what the actual time it actually takes.  That is her minute and you need to accept it.  And whatever you do, do not tell her how long she took.  In fact, you would do well to say something to the effect of how nice it is just to be with her.

10.  Do you think we could go to (insert phrase here) — Guys, she is not asking you a question!  Not really.  She is simply imparting to you what she wants to do and that she wants you to accompany her in whatever capacity is necessary.

These a just some of the hundreds of phrases, and variations of those phrases, that a woman says to a man.  Most of them can be called “faux questions” as they are really either statements or demands.  It is the man’s job to learn her particular take on each of these phrases and act accordingly.  Men who do not learn, or worse, will not learn, will be either alone or unhappy, and probably both!